Edward Gets Messy, by Rita Meade, illustrated by Olga Stern; Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; $17.99, 32 pages, ages 3-7.
Edward is a scrupulous pig–he irons his clothes before school, vacuums the fish tank, and avoids leaf piles and volcanic science experiments in order to stay clean. One day, while tidying up the supply shelf in class, green paint plops onto his pressed shirt, the catalyst for Edward to discover the joys of digging in dirt and exploring new activities. Debut children’s book author Rita Meade composes a quick-paced, witty narrative that begs to be read aloud. Olga Stern’s bright colored pencil illustrations build in intensity as Edward’s embrace of chaos grows. Neatniks will sympathize with Edward’s penchant for cleanliness, while ragamuffins will cheer this little piggy on his messy adventure. Besides, sometimes the best part about getting dirty is the clean-up afterwards.